US diplomat killed in Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan

Anne Smedinghoff,a 25-year-old foreign service officer,loved working directly with Afghan people.

Written by Associated Press | Chicago | Published: April 8, 2013 1:05 am

A young US diplomat was killed in a suicide car attack in southern Afghanistan was an up-and-coming public servant who loved working directly with the Afghan people.

Anne Smedinghoff,a 25-year-old foreign service officer,died Saturday when the group she was traveling with was struck by an explosion in southern Zabul province. They were traveling to donate textbooks to students. A civilian employee with the US Defense Department and three US soldiers were also killed in the attack.

The Chicago-area woman is the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year’s attack on the US diplomatic installation in Benghazi,Libya.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday at a news conference in Turkey that Smedinghoff was “vivacious,smart and capable.’’ Smedinghoff had assisted Kerry during a visit to Afghanistan two weeks ago. He also described Smedinghoff as “a selfless,idealistic woman who woke up yesterday morning and set out to bring textbooks to school children,to bring them knowledge.’’

“Anne and those with her,” Kerry said,“were attacked by the Taliban terrorists who woke up that day not with a mission to educate or to help,but with a mission to destroy.”

10 children killed in NATO strike

KABUL: A NATO airstrike killed 11 Afghan civilians,including 10 children,during a fierce weekend gunbattle with Taliban militants that also left one US civilian adviser dead in in the Shultan area of Kunar’s Shigal district in eastern Afghanistan,officials said Sunday. Wasifullah Wasify,a government official in Kunar province,said the airstrike on Saturday targeted a house and killed 10 children and one woman inside. He said seven Taliban suspects also were killed and five other women were wounded. AP

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